Important issues have again been aired, and there has been some conflict over the position of music in schools. In fact, there need be no conflict. Music in the national curriculum is a statutory requirement. All children aged five to 14 are required to have the opportunity to sing and to play an instrument. The best teachers and schools achieve this.
What is needed? Sharing of good practice; in-service training; timetabling and funding music to meet statutory requirements.
An extended music curriculum, providing additional music making outside the classroom, is a prerequisite for anyone wishing to take music further as a hobby or as a career. We need all poviders to work together, in partnership, for the benefit of the pupils' overall musical education.
We do need more training for teachers, particularly at key stage 2, to give them the necessary confidence, skills, knowledge and understanding. We need more key stage 3 training to enable teachers to provide a curriculum that enthuses, motivates and engages pupils and we need to encourage more pupils to continue with music at key stage 4 and post-16.
Success will not be achieved overnight. But positive steps are being taken. Let us celebrate the gains, no matter how small, and work together to ensure that in the future we provide the best music education in the world.
Richard J Hallam
National Association of Music Educators